27 March 2019
New Delhi: India on Wednesday became "a space superpower" by becoming the fourth country to acquire anti-satellite capability, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Wednesday, calling it "a proud moment".
"Our scientists, a little while ago, have targeted a live satellite in space 300 km away in low earth orbit. The pre-fixed target was destroyed by the A-SAT in just three minutes. With this, India has established itself as a space superpower," he said in a nationally televised speech.
"Mission Shakti was a difficult operation but a huge success. The operation involved a complicated space manoeuvre," the Prime Minister added.
This brings India in the select league of nations that claim to have anti-satellite weapons. Only the United States, China and Russia have demonstrated this capability till now. Israel is also said to possess this capability, though it has not carried out a test so far.
Satellites are used by countries for navigation, communications and also for guiding their missile weaponry. The ability to bring down an enemy’s missile, therefore, gives a country the capability to cripple critical infrastructure of the other country, rendering their weapons useless.
Though the United States and the then Soviet Union both tested anti-satellite missiles way back in the 1970s at the height of the cold war, never has any country brought down the satellite of any other country, either during a conflict or by mistake.
Saying the mission did not violate any international law, Modi said: "This is a proud moment for the country. Our scientists have made this happen.
"This new technology is not against anyone. It is only for the progress of India. We are only doing it for our safety and security. Our aim is to maintain peace and not develop a war-like situation," Modi said.